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400 Boots on the Ground after South Africa’s Natural Disaster

Troops have been deployed to support rescue operations since massive floods hit South Africa more than a week ago. Following up a declaration of a national state of disaster, President Cyril Ramaphosa dispatched top ministers to the city of Durban and KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) province, where at least 448 people have now died and 40,000 are homeless. The country has declared a national state of disaster after record rains flooded swathes of KwaZulu-Natal and Eastern Cape provinces. The defense force announced Monday that it was deploying 10,000 troops to help clear debris, rebuild fallen bridges, provide clean water and reconnect severed power lines. Joint civilian and military search teams are still recovering bodies from the debris more than a week after the disaster struck. Several areas are still inaccessible – hampering delivery of relief aid – after bridges and roads cracked under the weight of the worst floods to have hit the country in living memory. Major General Sandile Hlongwa, who is commanding the joint operations, said while the country was “prepared” for a disaster, the extent of the devastation had come as “a shock”.